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End of ESA reassessments for some chronically ill claimants

Employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants with chronic conditions which will not improve will not be subject to repeat work capability assessments (WCA) in the future, work and pensions secretary Damian Green has announced.

Green told the BBC today that:

"If you have got a condition that has made you unfit for work and which can only stay the same or get worse, I think it’s just pointless to just bring someone back again.

"It's the severity of the condition that matters, because indeed there are some people with MS that can work, but we know that it's a degenerative disease so there will come a point when it may well be that they can't work.

"And after that it seems to me that re-testing and reassessing them doesn't do them any good, it might induce anxiety and stress in them, and it is also not doing the system any good because it is pointless."

However, Green made it clear that there was no intention of scrapping retesting for the vast majority of ESA claimants.

It is not clear yet which conditions will be included or how a decision will be made as to whether retesting will be required for a specific claimant.

Further announcements are expected at the Conservative party conference and guidance will have to be produced at some stage. We’ll keep readers posted.

Comments  

#32 MarkW 2016-10-17 13:20
Quote:
Well with a bit of luck I might get a break from these assessments. I have had one every year since 2012 but not gonna hold my breath
I do not understand how you cope with that. I find the stress of waiting, knowing a form will arrive at some point, is too much. It has affected me mentally, with much increased anxiety levels, fear of strange people, telephone and post!
I wish you luck with it all but I would have to admit defeat and give up applying, to survive with that amount of intrusion.
I'm have family all around and would be forced to fall back on them!
+1 #31 Elisa 2016-10-08 09:00
My thinking is that they will get rid of the support group, call it permanently unfit for work ( PUW) and anyone who does not have unlikely to ever be fit for work on their last ESE report will be moved to a holding group until reassessed. The majority will go into the WRAG.

This means they will save £30pw each from most, existing ESA support group claimants. As others have said, this will only apply to those with physical conditions that cannot ever change. The few who remain in the new PUW after considering all conclusions from the ESE reports will also be subdivided into 'never' and 'with adaptation'.

So this is my prophesy, for what it's worth ;) This is just another way to implement benefit cuts and that is why IDS is so supportive.
+1 #30 tintack 2016-10-07 00:22
Quoting GoingOffMyHeadWithThisGoverment:
DWP has also provided some details about which ESA claimants will be exempt from repeat WCAs.

A DWP spokeswoman said the criteria would be based on identifying claimants who have a condition that is: lifelong; severe (in “functional terms”); “often progressive and incurable”; with “no realistic prospect of recovery”; and results in high and “minimally fluctuating” care needs, “such that it would be unreasonable to expect the individual to undertake any form or amount of work or work-related activity”.


If all of those criteria have to be met then I can't see many people qualifying. And who will decide if there is "no realistic prospect of recovery"? When it comes to a lifetime award that's probably going to be the most important factor, so will it be enough if the claimant's GP/consultant says recovery is very unlikely, or will that be decided by the "health professionals" the DWP will be consulting? It should be the former, but I bet it turns out to be the latter.
+1 #29 GoingOffMyHeadWithThisGoverment 2016-10-06 20:12
Another interesting story surrounding the WCA..

Info taken from DNS john pring..

Ministers know their WCA system is increasing suicide risk, says Ken Loach.

Government ministers know their “fitness for work” system is making disabled people’s health worse, and is increasing the risk of suicides, the award-winning film director Ken Loach has told Disability News Service (DNS).

See full article here. www.disabilitynewsservice.com/ministers-know-their-wca-system-is-increasing-suicide-risk-says-ken-loach/

Will the message ever get to these pompous fools the WCA doe's not work and kills innocent people...
+1 #28 GoingOffMyHeadWithThisGoverment 2016-10-06 20:05
Hi all, here is a little update.
Still a little sceptic over all this.. hope this help a few of you. God bless us all.

The government has confirmed that sick and disabled people who will soon be spared reassessments for out-of-work benefits will still face repeated testing for personal independence payment (PIP).

DWP has also provided some details about which ESA claimants will be exempt from repeat WCAs.

A DWP spokeswoman said the criteria would be based on identifying claimants who have a condition that is: lifelong; severe (in “functional terms”); “often progressive and incurable”; with “no realistic prospect of recovery”; and results in high and “minimally fluctuating” care needs, “such that it would be unreasonable to expect the individual to undertake any form or amount of work or work-related activity”.

The exemption will only apply to claimants in the ESA support group – for those with the highest barriers to work – and not to anyone in the work-related activity group (WRAG), while the same criteria will apply to those who claim the equivalent of ESA through the new universal credit.

Info above provided by DNS John pring see full info here www.disabilitynewsservice.com/tory-conference-pip-claimants-will-not-be-spared-retests-dwp-admits/#prettyPhoto
#27 denise 2016-10-06 13:08
Quoting Eli48:
Quote:
My son has schizophenia and i have just read a comment on here that someone has written yes it is a an awful illness and you say it can be controlled with modern drugs You just point me to a doctor who will prescibe a modern drug for this diliptating illness the NNHS are still using old drugs because the new one,s are far to expensive. and as for them going to work im sorry i have to disagree with you on that statement because my son was prescibed the old drugs and it made him worst he is now nearly 40 years of age and he is not fit to work because of all the side effects he has because of the drugs they give the and most go on to have further illnesses because of the drugs their given i hope they do jstop testing him because th older he is getting the more stressed out we are becoming because we have to fill his forms in for him.


It might be a case of where you live. It's not true that all patient with schizophrenia get the old drugs. it does seem that it is a post code lottery as to what treatment and drugs you get. I am sorry to hear about your son's problems. If your doctor will not prescribe the newer class of drugs, look to replace your doctor. Some are better than others.
He gets the new drugs i was on about other people plus he has diabetes now because os the side effects.this is what has to be looked at.
+1 #26 Mimi59 2016-10-06 08:44
I wonder if they'll stick rigidly to a "specific" list of conditions which exempt people. What about rare conditions where you have no chance of improving? I do hope common-sense will prevail here and everyone will be treated on an individual basis.
#25 Eli48 2016-10-05 21:38
Quote:
My son has schizophenia and i have just read a comment on here that someone has written yes it is a an awful illness and you say it can be controlled with modern drugs You just point me to a doctor who will prescibe a modern drug for this diliptating illness the NNHS are still using old drugs because the new one,s are far to expensive. and as for them going to work im sorry i have to disagree with you on that statement because my son was prescibed the old drugs and it made him worst he is now nearly 40 years of age and he is not fit to work because of all the side effects he has because of the drugs they give the and most go on to have further illnesses because of the drugs their given i hope they do jstop testing him because th older he is getting the more stressed out we are becoming because we have to fill his forms in for him.
It might be a case of where you live. It's not true that all patient with schizophrenia get the old drugs. it does seem that it is a post code lottery as to what treatment and drugs you get. I am sorry to hear about your son's problems. If your doctor will not prescribe the newer class of drugs, look to replace your doctor. Some are better than others.
+1 #24 denise 2016-10-05 08:52
Quoting Mary:
Will this apply to lifetime DLA-PIP conversion? I am in a tribunal situation so would like to know!

There is no more life time awards for PIP im afraid Those transferring from DLA to PIP have a whole new set of rules now.The longest award is 10 years and very few are getting it .
+2 #23 denise 2016-10-05 08:45
My son has schizophenia and i have just read a comment on here that someone has written yes it is a an awful illness and you say it can be controlled with modern drugs You just point me to a doctor who will prescibe a modern drug for this diliptating illness the NNHS are still using old drugs because the new one,s are far to expensive. and as for them going to work im sorry i have to disagree with you on that statement because my son was prescibed the old drugs and it made him worst he is now nearly 40 years of age and he is not fit to work because of all the side effects he has because of the drugs they give the and most go on to have further illnesses because of the drugs their given i hope they do jstop testing him because th older he is getting the more stressed out we are becoming because we have to fill his forms in for him.
+1 #22 Crazydiamond 2016-10-04 13:41
The easiest way to create a list of ESA claimants with chronic conditions who should be exempt from the work capability assessment, would be to bring back the exemptions for Incapacity Benefit under the old personal capability assessment.

Unfortunately, the list is too long to include in this comments section, but his would be the fairest way to decide whether a claimant should be subject to the WCA. The previous exemptions were removed by New Labour under the auspices of that well-known Tory Yvette Cooper, inventor of the imaginary wheelchair test, she introduced to the WCA shortly after ESA was concocted in 2008.
+2 #21 Eli48 2016-10-03 22:57
Quoting carruthers:
[quote name="Eli48"]There are intractable mental conditions that do not improve. They can only be managed, e.g. schizophrenia.

I had thought that schizophrenia might come under that heading, but if it can be "managed" then presumably some people w schizophrenia might be able to work, just as those with some physically intractable problems, such as MS, can work, sometimes for decades, with their condition being "managed" (and some understanding from employers when there's a relapse).


(Most schizophrenics cannot work at all. Very few hold down a job and quite often not for long. They are not considered reliable in the job, so often are not employed. The same applies to other mental health conditions.)


This means that the DWP can point out that because some people with (for instance) schizophrenia can work, then they have to keep testing everyone with schizophrenia in case their condition is being well enough managed (say with new drugs) for them to be "Fit for Work."
(So few do work, so not sure how they can say that. Most employers will not touch people with this condition, let alone any other mental health condition. As I say, they are not reliable in the work place.)


If Damien Green were actually doing a thorough review of the whole process of sickness and disability benefits on a straightforward ly financial basis, then it would all be much simpler and more humane.


(I am not that keen on Corbyn for many reasons, but he would humanise claiming benefits and end the assessments. He would bring back the doctors doing the tests.
+1 #20 Blackcat 2016-10-03 22:47
Hi
I have autism.
I am in the support group on a continuing status.

It is not my intention to offend,in my opinion,that claimant which 'The Minister' feels fit for work,may not be considered fit for work by a future employer,or his Insurers. Some Insurers do not have the scope for mental illness.
These days doctors hand out 'fit notes' to accentuate what work can still be done,can no longer play the cello! pluck the guitar. You may no longer be able to go up the chimney but that doesn't stop you from being a clergyman,all you have to do is believe.
I am not sure about all this!
'Your trouser cuffs are dirty
your shoes are laced up wrong
you had better take off your Homburg
your overcoats too long'
Procol Harum
Thankyou
+2 #19 iank 2016-10-03 22:15
Well with a bit of luck I might get a break from these assessments. I have had one every year since 2012 but not gonna hold my breath
+3 #18 tintack 2016-10-03 19:30
Quoting carruthers:
I had thought that schizophrenia might come under that heading, but if it can be "managed" then presumably some people w schizophrenia might be able to work, just as those with some physically intractable problems, such as MS, can work, sometimes for decades, with their condition being "managed" (and some understanding from employers when there's a relapse).

This means that the DWP can point out that because some people with (for instance) schizophrenia can work, then they have to keep testing everyone with schizophrenia in case their condition is being well enough managed (say with new drugs) for them to be "Fit for Work."


Exactly. By that logic, the DWP can claim almost any condition can be "managed" well enough for someone to work, even when it's abundantly clear that there's no realistic chance of it happening. If they draw up a list of specific conditions that qualify for a lifetime award I think we can assume it won't be a very long list.

They will apparently be consulting with "health professionals" on the new policy, but what does that mean? The same Unum-influenced "health professionals" responsible for the WCA? It wouldn't surprise me - the WCA would be laughed out of court if it were subjected to rigorous peer review by mainstream experts, which is why the DWP relies on the "research" it commissions from the peddlers of the BPS model.
+4 #17 carruthers 2016-10-03 18:35
Quoting Eli48:
There are intractable mental conditions that do not improve. They can only be managed, e.g. schizophrenia.

I had thought that schizophrenia might come under that heading, but if it can be "managed" then presumably some people w schizophrenia might be able to work, just as those with some physically intractable problems, such as MS, can work, sometimes for decades, with their condition being "managed" (and some understanding from employers when there's a relapse).

This means that the DWP can point out that because some people with (for instance) schizophrenia can work, then they have to keep testing everyone with schizophrenia in case their condition is being well enough managed (say with new drugs) for them to be "Fit for Work."

It's not actually a very efficient routine. The taxpayer would be better off accepting that someone whose doctor says they should be regarded as permanently unable to work, is in fact unable to work. The cost of testing and then going through reconsideration and appeal is usually wasted. Even if the DWP forces them on to JSA, then the stress of that will probably worsen their condition, making it possible for them to re-apply for ESA ...

If Damien Green were actually doing a thorough review of the whole process of sickness and disability benefits on a straightforward ly financial basis, then it would all be much simpler and more humane.

Unfortunately, there is as much politics and PR as either medicine or economics involved.
+1 #16 Eli48 2016-10-03 12:52
6) This new rule should help those with severe learning disabilities or other "fixed" conditions. It is unlikely to have much effect on those with mental health issues - it's very difficult to prove that anyone with PTSD, for example, or depression will never see any improvement.


actually, there are intractable mental conditions that do not improve. They can only be managed, e.g. schizophrenia.
+1 #15 Eli48 2016-10-03 12:45
Quoting shimtoan:
when he says 'autism' does he mean "classic" autism, ADHD, or the entire spectrum?


ADHD is not on the Autism spectrum. It is a separate condition to Autism, though they overlap in the sense some of the symptoms do overlap. Autism is just that, Autism. It's a spectrum disorder where it is profound, bad, not too bad, mild moderate, ..........to Asperger's, the high functioning end of the spectrum. Though many with Autism do also have ADHD as well.
+4 #14 carruthers 2016-10-03 11:08
Quoting satmanbasil:
I note they will continue to reduce the benefit of those who claim in the future to award the same as JSA so already creating a divided claimant society unless they push quietly through plans to put ESA claimants already receiving benefits to be adjusted to JSA rate as well.

These reduction of ESA to JSA levels applies only to those in the WRAG. In theory the WRAG is for those who can be expected to move off ESA and back into work, though only after some time and/or with extra support. In any case those in Work-Related Activities Group are - pretty much by definition - not counted as "too sick/disabled ever to recover".

This does NOT mean that in actual practice many of those in the WRAG are not in any real-world situation ever going to work. Most especially there are those who should have been in the Support Group from the start, but were put into the WRAG to force them to appeal if they wanted SG. These people are still going to be royally screwed by the DWP and forced to fight further for both their Support Group status and recognition that they are never going to get back to work and should not be badgered.

It does mean that there will be no let up for those in the WRAG and no relief from the levelling down to JSA.

This is another, "Great BUT" feature.
+4 #13 morgandlin 2016-10-03 10:39
I've been claiming IB/ESA for a long time, worked for the old DHSS before that, and I'm happy to take some good news, when it arrives.

It was Labour that bought in ESA, Duncan Smith made it much worse, and Green, to be honest, has actually done something to improve the lot of the 'cannot improves'.

I somehow get the feeling, with the cuts to WRAG that we will go back to the old IB system - either fit for work, or not (no WRAG, just SG), and of those deemed unfit for work, some will be given the old style exemptions.

I don't think it's about an election, because let's be honest, if May called an election next month, she would be elected with a landslide - the perils of their being no effective, electable opposition.

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